diversity

Making Classroom Writing Assessment More Visible, Equitable, and Portable through Digital Badging

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Author: Stephanie West-Puckett

Summary: Educator Stephanie West-Puckett describes her experience using collaboratively designed digital badges as a networked, contextual, and participatory form of writing assessment in a college first-year writing course. She describes how this “community-based assessment” supported diverse conceptions of writing and prompted critical discussion about what constitutes successful writing, pushing back against narrow definitions of success and deficit approaches often imposed by rubric-based assessments.
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This Is Who I Want to Be! Exploring Possible Selves by Interviewing Women in Science

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Author: Jessica Singer Early

Summary: This article examines how a classroom-based writing project, centered on interviewing and writing profiles of women in science, helped a group of high-school girls explore and articulate new possibilities for their future selves. It could serve as a useful model for educators engaged in equity and inclusion work, particularly in using research and writing to help underrepresented students connect to a larger world beyond their own experience.
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Teaching in a Movement for Justice

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Author: Paul Allison

Summary: This collection of blogs, podcasts, articles, videos, and other media provides a variety of textual experiences you could use to give students a layered reading and writing experience related to Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. The collection creator, Paul Allison, poses two qustions: “How can we help students to connect around important issues of race and justice in our time?” and “How do we build curriculum, rituals, tools, and skills in modular, open, inspiring ways that will give students the permission to follow their passions, yet also invite them to go deep into important issues as committed and informed citizens?” While the collection focuses specifically on the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and its aftermath, it underscores the value of creating multimodal resource collections to encourage teachers and students to explore issues of social justice locally and more broadly.
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A Fourth Grade Service Learning Project Engages English Learners

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Author: Robert Rivera-Amezola

Summary: In this video, a teacher of fourth-grade English learners describes how he integrated service learning and digital literacy in a civic engagement project. They used “My Voice,” a service-learning framework, as a guide to choose a project about water conservation and pollution. The teacher made information accessible to his students via videos and images as well as language by using the website Discovery Education. The students wrote blogposts, and completed webquests, podcasts, and digital presentations.  The resources that supported this work along with the student outcomes are made available on the video as models for teacher study groups.
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A Work in Progress: The Benefits of Early Recruitment for the Summer Institute

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Author: Anne-Marie Hall, Roger Shanley, and Flory Simon

Summary:  Of particular interest to teacher leaders planning their site’s invitational institute, this monograph from the Southern Arizona Writing Project describes how site leaders’ addressed the challenges of recruitment by revising their year-round calendar to more seamlessly integrate pre and post-institute experiences with other site programming. By starting recruitment efforts for the next summer immediately following the current summer’s institute and building in stronger mentoring and pre-institute events focused on the development of teacher demonstrations, site leaders found that institute participants were better acclimated and prepared. An additional benefit they found was that this new sequence increased the diversity of participating teachers.

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Whose Core Is It?

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Author: Christina Puntel

Summary: An elementary school teacher and bilingual coordinator pushes back against the mandated content/performance descriptors provided by her district to assert that the “core” of her curriculum is her students’ learning. “I teach with an ear close to the core of each child, to the core of the monarch unit, the silkworm unit, the family songs unit….” Her important reflection on the humanity of the students at the heart of classrooms and curricula will be of interest to teachers and study groups wrestling with the influence of mandated curricula on their teaching.
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Listening to the Sounds of Silence in the Classroom

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Author: Art Peterson and Kathy Schultz

Summary: Did you ever wonder about why certain students might choose silence? In this video and an accompanying article about her work, Kathy Schultz urges educators to inquire into the meaning of silence while also finding strategies to allow silent students to communicate. Watching the video may spur teachers to reconsider notions of “participation” and the function of silence in “talk-rich,” writing classrooms.
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Theory, Politics, Hope, and Action: Building Immersive Writing Experiences for Bilingual Writers

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Author: Carole Edelsky

Summary: This article is a great resource for study groups, inquiry communities, and professional learning of all types with a focus on English learners and writing. After introducing two pieces of “gorgeous” writing from fifth graders in a dual language classroom, Edelsky explains how this writing came to be. First she provides a theoretical overview focused on how people develop language and identity through authentic work within a community of practice. Then she describes the genesis of a different approach to writing development among a group of elementary teachers dealing with the question of “how you make schoolwork like real out-of-school work.” Offering seven “partial answers,” this article is highly accessible with the potential to generate myriad inquiries into issues about language learning, writing, power, and equity.
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Preserving the Cultural Identity of the English Language Learner

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Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

Summary: With an advocacy goal of helping immigrant students retain their cultural identities and succeed within the mainstream classroom while also learning a new language, the authors share several effective writing practices that validate students’ primary language in meaningful ways and promote a strong sense of self. These include: helping all students use key words from a variety of languages; inviting students to use their primary language in response to journal entries, writing prompts and free writes; using multilingual mentor texts; employing “writing to learn” in native languages to explore content; and using cooperative grouping to support speaking in English. The details and examples in this article make it an excellent resource for study groups, professional development or individual teachers seeking ways to support language learners.
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Learning From Laramie: Urban High School Students Read, Research, and Reenact The Laramie Project

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Author: Marsha Pincus

Summary: In this story of an extended teacher research project, the author shares the design, purpose, and impact of a course called “Drama and Inquiry,” where she and her students explored multiple perspectives, shifting identities, and ethical dialogue through their study of non-canonical plays including “The Laramie Project.” Consider including this article in an advanced institute to support conversations about teacher inquiry and social justice.
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